I have got to do this more often.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my early morning runs. There is nothing like starting your day with a solid sweat session in the great outdoors. But last night got me thinking: Maybe, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to attempt one night run each week.
If you hadn’t guessed, I had a really unexpectedly nice Valentine’s Day. As Noah and I put it, if nothing else, it was just a nice excuse to do something random together on a Tuesday evening – a night when we’d normally just sit on the couch watching Storage Wars.
Noah met me at the office around 6:45. I had packed a running backpack earlier in the day so that I could leave straight from work, and also to avoid the opportunity to make any excuses. Once I’m in for the night, there’s no chance I’m heading out the door again except to pick up the occasional bottle of wine.
We started the run in Union Square, where I work, heading south toward Washington Square Park to check out the fake arc de triomphe in all its illuminated glory.
Indeed, it was glorious. We continued on through the West Village, where we stared at townhouses we wished we lived in. The streets were surprisingly quiet once we were far enough west, and we were able to jog in the middle of the street, which always makes this car-laden city seem a bit more tolerable.
I felt good. Like, really good. I guess when you’re used to running so early in the morning, before eating and really getting the chance to wake up, you also get used to that feeling of perpetual initial sluggishness. That’s not the case during an evening run, and I could really feel my body using up energy I had stored throughout the day.
The very loose plan was to end up on the West Side Highway, since we both love the path but, living on the east side, rarely get to run there. After 20 minutes or so, we were greeted by this.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t too crowded out there despite the unseasonably warm weather. It was Valentine’s Day after all, and most romantics were probably out celebrating with fondue and roses.
We ran in the direction of the Financial District, the Freedom Towers staring back at us. It felt great to have practically the entire pathway to ourselves. Quiet, serene, and unlike most places in New York City, peaceful, I could almost immediately feel my stress melt off my body and float off into the Hudson River to our right.
Noah wore red just for Valentine’s Day. (Not really, but here he is running in the only lightweight coat he has. It happens to be red.)
Then, we stumbled upon a Hudson River rarity: the gates that lead out to the pathway atop the Holland Tunnel were actually open. I love those outlets – it feels like you’re flying across the water – and had never run across that stretch of Manhattan before. So with a sharp turn, we made our way across the short but scenic stretch.
At that moment, I realized how genuinely happy I was, and how simple it was to find that state of bliss. It didn’t take truffles and bouquets; just a running companion and a gorgeous city view. There are times I hate NYC for it’s lack of stars, but then again, there are moments like these when you kind of think to yourself, who needs ’em?
Snapping back to reality, we headed back to the path and a bit farther south before turning around and running north again toward home. We had planned on running across the High Line to squeeze in a few more sweet city views, but when we got there, we were met with a big iron gate. It was closed.
That’s when we ran into these.
Spontaneous pit stop at The Standard for beer? Yes please. Like I said, my goal of the night was to just start running and to see where my legs took me from there. Well, my legs took me to beer. Which means I have freaking awesome legs.
Mid-run beers are the new gus. After finishing our drinks outside, we started off again, fueled by hops and carbonation.
Yep, this was the best Valentine’s Day ever. Totally un-fussy, definitely fun, and best of all, extremely cheap – which is a great thing these days. (Did you know you can buy 3 half-pound wedges of fine cheese for less than $10 at the East Village Cheese Shop?)
While I hate to call them Valentine’s Day plans, it was nevertheless the perfect excuse to do something that would make a random Tuesday night memorable. And to set the record straight, we didn’t miss Storage Wars. Yuuup! (Storage Wars humor.)